The dusty, late afternoon heat wasn’t a deterrent for us taking the kids to their first rural county fair. None of us really knew what to expect. The electric co-op had a booth demonstrating how to lower bills, banks handed out coin purses and balloons, three water filtration companies were busy trying to convince people their well water was not good enough and candidates running for every office in the county, city, and state were shaking hands and grinning. And the competition! Ribbons could be won for everything from top heifer to best pickles. It was like discovering a whole new culture I had no idea existed.
Our kids ran from the displays to the livestock, to the tractor pull, to the midway full of rides, taking it all in. One thing Travis insisted on trying was the greased pig chase. Piglets covered in Crisco were turned loose in a dirt arena to be run down and captured by age groups of kids. If you caught one you took home a $10.00 bill, but more coveted, the bragging rights for capturing one of the slippery little things. How hard could it be?
I’ve never heard a noise quite like that before or since. Piglets squealing, kids screaming and crying, parents cheering. At first I wondered if PETA was aware of this event, but soon realized the pigs were not hurt, just loud. This was serious competition, only a little more intense than the pickle canning.
The first pig Travis caught slid right through his arms. The expression on his face was like someone who had eaten raw oysters for the first time. The slickness is a bit startling. Each pig he grabbed squirted right out of his grip. Red faced and dripping, after eight or so tackles all he finished with was a mouth full of dirt. The city boy didn’t have the technique…yet.
He was disappointed, but determined. He all but interviewed the kids who did catch a pig to find out how it was done. He learned all he could about how to handle a pig. When August rolled around the next year he was the first to claim a $10.00 bill. It was like his own personal conquest. Giving up was never an option.
Everything has become so microwaveable and tweetish. If we have to wait on something or get frustrated with it we tend to toss it. Where is the commitment, perseverance, tenacity and resolve? Have those become outdated words? Don’t give up on yourself and don’t give up on others. Don’t let the pigs get you down!
The motto of the French Foreign Legion is good to remember when you’re temped to throw in the towel. “If I falter push me on. If I stumble, pick me up. If I retreat, shoot me.”
“…Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
1 Corinthians 9:24